With Indian hospitals struggling to maintain a consistent supply of oxygen and more COVID-19 patients dying as a result of the shortages, a court in New Delhi has announced that it will begin prosecuting government officials who fail to provide the life-saving supplies.
India saw a small decrease in new infections yesterday, with 392,488 compared to 401,993 the day before.
There were also 3,689 more deaths, taking the number to 215,542.
Both numbers, according to experts, are an undercount, with only 5% of infections being reported.
The government has been rushing oxygen tankers to the worst-affected areas, where overburdened hospitals are unable to cope with an unprecedented surge in patients gasping for air.
COVID-19 patients on high-flow oxygen, including a doctor, died on Saturday at a hospital in New Delhi after the supply ran out for 80 minutes, according to SCL Gupta, director of Batra Hospital.
Another 16 people died as a result of the oxygen shortage in two hospitals in southern Andhra Pradesh and six in a Gurgaon hospital on the outskirts of New Delhi, according to the Times of India.
In the Indian capital, where a lockdown has been extended for a week to control the wave of infections due to the government’s inability to sustain a steady supply of oxygen, many hospital authorities sought court intervention.
“The water level has risen above the head. ‘It is Enough,’ “The New Delhi High Court said it would begin prosecuting government officials if hospital oxygen supplies were not provided.
Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Patil said, “We can’t have people dying.”
The court announced that contempt proceedings would be initiated.
In the last 24 hours, 412 people have died in New Delhi, the highest number since the pandemic began.
In a desperate attempt to manage the global humanitarian crisis, the army opened its hospitals to civilians.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also granted the army emergency financial powers to construct new quarantine facilities and hospitals, as well as purchase equipment.
600 doctors who had withdrawn in the previous few years were also summoned by the military.
According to a government announcement, the navy has deployed 200 nursing assistants to civilian hospitals.
India announced on Saturday that all adults aged 18 and up will be eligible for vaccinations.
Despite being one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, nearly 10% of Indians have received one dose since January, but only around 1.5 percent have received both.
India has distributed over 156 million vaccine doses so far. Some states have already stated that they do not have enough vaccine for everyone, and the continuing campaign to immunize people over the age of 45 is stalling.
Therapeutics, rapid virus tests, and oxygen, as well as some materials required to improve India’s domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines, are being rushed to India from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and a number of other countries.